What You Need To Know If You’re Going To Grow Past Boho
Text: Colossians 1:21-29
Proposition: If we are Christians then we need to grow as Christians, that means knowing Jesus more than I did before is true for every day.
Introduction: Our daughters were home for Christmas and we shared a great time together. I think it was on the second day I was introduced to a word that I hadn’t heard before, though I could guess the roots of it. They were talking about how the clothes and culture of Calgary were so Boho. I grabbed the opportunity to play the hobo to their Boho, I asked what Boho clothes were, what Boho culture is. Boho is really just recent slang for Bohemian, which is described as the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often seen as free spirited, creative and artistic. It’s been described as “… a light and graceful philosophy, it is the Gospel of the Moment, this esoteric phase of the Bohemian ‘religion’… one must choose and find one’s own path, be one’s own self, live one’s own life.”
The challenge is how to sift the good out of a cultural trend without being lulled into all of its philosophical bait. The reason for doing so is not just so that we wouldn’t get sucked in, it’s so that we would grow. When Paul was writing to the Colossians that’s what he particularly had in mind. They were getting sucked in to Gnosticism and Judaism as they tried to blend it with their Christian faith. The result was that not only were they not discerning the danger in that, their growth or maturity as Christians was impaired. They were like babies crawling along on the floor putting anything that came to hand into their mouths. Their lack of discernment blocked their ability to grow. So let’s call this sermon, “What you Need To Know In Order Grow Past Boho.” Have a look at Colossians 1:21-29.
I. Know That Your Thoughts Are As Important to God As Your Actions.
What you think matters. JFK once said, “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” Dallas Willard took that a step further,
“You can live opposite of what you profess, but you cannot live opposite of what you believe.”
What you think matters to the people whose lives you touch but it matters even more to God. Look at what Paul says in Colossians 1:21, “And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” We are so Boho in our sin nature that we think in ways that are against God, we think about what benefits us, about what we see as beauty and wisdom.
God thinks, He knows we think, and He knows that what we think leads to the way we live. It’s no different with God, Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” That’s why your thoughts are as important to God as your actions, they have everything to do with your future and the hope within it. If you are going to grow as a Christian know that your thoughts are the first place that you need to exercise supervision. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 say, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” It seems the devil also is concerned with how we think and uses that to create areas of defeat and captivity in our lives. If you going to grow, think what you think about.
II. Know That God Is More Invested In Your Well Being Than You Are.
You know what it means to invest, it means to purchase something with the hope that it will increase in value, quality or capability. So how is God more invested in you than what you are, what did He purchase, how’s that investment appreciated? The word reconciled is a book keeping term that refers to restoring a balance of accounts or debt. So in essence what God purchased was my debt, He paid my bill and He did so as an investment. The bill He paid was the debt of my sin. The way that He paid that was to have the righteous flesh of Jesus Christ die in the place of my sinful flesh. He was so invested in me that He was willing to die for me. Are you that invested in anybody, in God? Know that God is more invested in your well being than you are. So what is His hope for that investment, it’s that Jesus would be able to present you before God on the Day of Judgment as being holy, blameless and above reproach in His sight. If we are to grow as Christians we need know that the investment God has made in us is one which calls for us to appreciate. How do you appreciate or grow in quality or capability? Verse 23 touches on it. It’s by continuing in the faith, being grounded, steadfast, not moved away. When the Boho philosophy comes calling for you how grounded are you to resist it? God has not only invested in your salvation, He’s also invested in your sanctification. To persevere as a Christian is something He has equipped you to do. He’s opened up the eyes of your understanding, He’s placed the Scripture right in front of you, He even has people like me preach to you regarding the person of Jesus Christ and the degree of His investment in you. Know that God is deeply invested in you, grow.
III. Know That As God Is Not Ashamed of Us, We Shouldn’t Be Of Him.
This next verse can seem very peculiar. “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, the church.” Certainly this can’t mean that Paul in some way adds to the effectiveness of the death of Christ for us. There was nothing lacking in the atonement of the suffering and death of Jesus so what can he possibly be referring to? The church is referred to as the body of Christ, it is the way Jesus manifests Himself here and now. The sufferings Paul is referring to are those appointed for this body of Christ, the church. Does it seem strange that God would intend struggle and pain for those He is so invested in? 1 Peter 4:16 puts it like this, “But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” In Philippians 1:29 Paul says, “For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” To suffer for Christ’s sake, to “fill up in the flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ”, can look like many things. It can mean being beaten physically because of Jesus, it can be being mocked, spat upon or treated with contempt or even ostracized or shut out of something because of Jesus. Paul seemed to be thinking that there was a considerable amount of suffering appointed for the church and he wanted to bear as much of that as he could for the church to the glory of God. The idea of suffering for Christ is not self abasement or masochistic, it’s focus is for others, for the church and ultimately for the glory of Jesus Christ. Don’t take my word for it, just look at what Paul gives as the reason at the end of verse 24, “for the sake of His body, the church.” When I take a hit it because of Jesus name it strengthens the body of Christ about me, confirming their faith, encouraging their walk. If we are going to grow past Boho then we need to see what God intends as far as suffering, as far as not being ashamed of Him which is the first line of response to suffering.
IV. Know That God’s Purposes For You Are Greater Than You Imagine.
Paul talks about being given a stewardship. A steward cares for the property or purposes of the owner, in this case the ‘owner’ is Jesus Christ. So what has been entrusted to him? It turns out it’s the same thing that has been entrusted to you and I. We have been entrusted with “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and generations but now has been revealed to His saints.” (v26). What’s this mystery, Paul spells it out in the next verse (27), it is the wonder of God uniting all people as one, Gentile and Jew and then giving to that one body something they could never have imagined, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” If you were lost by some country road and desperately needed to get to your destination and a person comes along and tells you just go right, then right again, take the third left and at the tall tree go right again. The directions would seem overwhelming, but if they said, ‘hey, just follow me and I’ll take you there’, then in that moment they became the way for you to get to your destination. Jesus once said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.” Christ in you is the way, the hope of glory is the destination. That is the stewardship we have been entrusted with, it is the purpose that is greater than could ever have imagined. If we will grow past Boho, it will be because our purpose has suddenly become much greater than just ourselves. Look at how this passage ends, it describes how we all grow, “To this end I also labor, serving according to His working which works in me mightily.” When I choose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ it is not some fledgling philosophy that I have put my hope in, it is the hope of glory and to see me through to that end Christ works in me mightily, with great power, overruling the impossible, making me more than a conqueror, for Christ has taken up residence in me.